Two gorgeous venues in the Ottawa area are bringing a welcome touch of elegance along with distinctive rural elements and upscale food service that connect us with the great outdoors and are truly memorable. Their energetic owners say it’s time to forget about hay bales and buckets of beer – at Almonte’s Evermore and Wakefield’s Le Belvédère, it’s all about chandeliers and champagne!
Perched on a hillside just outside Wakefield, Le Belvédère’s stunning setting is complemented by a large, modern building designed for receptions and parties. The scenic cliffside terrace overlooking forests and lush fields, features a spacious deck, outdoor bar and firepit. Indoors, polished concrete floors, a large fireplace and multiple chandeliers grace the large building along with a stone bar, cocktail lounge, space for a ceremony in case of inclement weather, and a large dining room that can accommodate up to 200 guests. Walls of windows and huge barn doors open the building up to the beautifully maintained grounds.
The hands-on owners Jessica and Kyle Davey had a vision for a venue, which artfully incorporates modern comforts while maintaining a strong connection to nature.
Frank Jousselin has served as Le Belvédère’s full-time executive chef since it opened in 2012. A seasoned professional, he loves working with local, organic food and now has ready access to fresh herbs, produce and edible flowers thanks to the property’s newly-developed three-acre garden.
“We have quite an extensive menu with thirteen main course options, an assortment of soups, salads and hors d’oeuvres, plus late-night food service choices,” explains Jessica who adds that a playful late-night menu includes choices such as a poutine bar, fruit and cheese boards and an ice cream sundae bar.
When Joel Schramek and Janice Mathers bought the childhood home of Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, they knew the Almonte property had the potential to become an extraordinary event venue. “The barn was in a terrifying state,” admits Joel, “but we knew we could rehabilitate it and create something exceptional.” Joel’s talents as a professional photographer and Janice’s background in décor and party planning, have enabled them to create a multi-purpose venue that is as relaxing as it is beautiful.
Evermore’s barn, with a capacity to seat 200, features huge beams, tall ceilings and crystal chandeliers; it’s a shabby-chic space with a French provincial feel. Comfortable furniture throughout the space creates multiple lounging areas, both indoors and out.
The food at Evermore is a big part of the story. Working with their culinary partner, Rod Scribner from Salt restaurant, they built a large commercial kitchen which enables the preparation of food on site. “We knew that Salt would provide a level of professionalism to match the service we aspire to deliver,” says Joel. “Salt’s executive chef Ryan Edwards has developed a menu which emphasizes local, seasonal flavours; it is really rustic, beautiful food unlike what you’d expect at an event. Given our location, we are fortunate to source almost everything from local farmers and Ryan and his team treat everything with care so the ingredients shine.” The innovative late-night menu includes a taco station, corn dogs, charcuterie and more.
THE URBAN ELEMENT GOES RURAL
Ottawa’s The Urban Element is expanding this year to include offsite catering services that will deliver the company’s hallmark accessible elegance. Their new offering builds on ten years of experience hosting chic, delicious events in the old Parkdale Fire Station as well as providing catering services across the city.
“Catering in rustic settings can pose challenges, but we have the experience to know how to make it all work. It also gives us a chance to deliver food that is fun and super creative,” says Carley Schelck, Urban Element’s CEO. “We will bring the style, the functionality and the aesthetic for which we are known, while also drawing on the environment in which we’re serving. For example, we’ll gather floral and other decorating features from the site, and use natural elements for serving pieces, fish from nearby lakes or locally-grown herbs and vegetables would be ideal.”